BRATISLAVA, SLOVAK REPUBLIC (SZS) — On the evening of October 23rd, 2019, the Solemn Academy of the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty of Comenius University (Evanjelická Bohoslovecká Fakulta—Univerzity Komenského, or EBF-UK) kicked off an international academic conference marking the celebration of their 100th anniversary. The conference, entitled “100 Years of Evangelical Theological Education in Slovakia” took place through October 25, 2019, and featured lectures from more than two-dozen esteemed guest speakers hailing from Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, and Italy, in addition to theological faculty from within Slovakia. The Slovak Zion Synod served as a sponsor to make this conference possible.
The seminary in Bratislava is a strategic partner of our Synod and raises up future pastors and leaders of Christ’s church; it is considered the foremost theological seminary for all of Central and Eastern Europe. Their 100th anniversary is an achievement deserving of high regards in view of the myriad socioeconomic and political pressures over the past century which have attempted to stymie church growth and discourage theological study.
Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek was among those present who delivered remarks at the academic ceremonial festivities of the opening night. She welcomed everyone and thanked them for their contributions to both the seminary and to God’s church. “We remember those who made great sacrifices in establishing this theological institution, and we are encouraged by those who have been leaders over the years and good stewards of the responsibilities entrusted to them,” Kucharek remarked. She not only enumerated the long history that our Synod shares with the seminary, including that both are celebrating 100 years of service in 2019, but also added that we further share the same histories of challenges from outside forces which would dissuade us in our purpose and existence, adding that this 100th anniversary celebration is a sign of God’s guidance and blessings which have brought them to this milestone celebration.
On behalf of the Synod, Bishop Kucharek presented the seminary with a token of our gratitude and recognition for their service and achievements during these 100 years. This award was received on behalf of the faculty by the Dean of the Seminary, Mgr. Milan Jurík. This award further serves as a symbol of our continued partnership and support of their work into the future. The award that was given is chamfered crystal held upright by cabernet-stained mahogany, and is adorned by the Synod Emblem. The award reads: “In recognition of and gratitude for exemplary service to the mission of Christ and His church” and bears the name of the theological faculty.
However, this was not the only award to be given. On behalf of the Rector of Comenius University, JUDr. Marek Števček, a Memorial Medal on behalf of Comenius University, and a Letter of Remembrance from the Dean, Mgr. Milan Jurík, on behalf of the Lutheran Theological Faculty of Comenius, was received by Bishop Kucharek on behalf of the Slovak Zion Synod on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Comenius University and in gratitude for our long-standing and on-going work of supporting theological education and scholarly endeavors, as recognized both across the Slovak Lutheran Church as well as internationally.
Bishop Kucharek’s address to those gathered at this Solemn Academy, as well as the conferring of both awards, can be viewed in the video below. The ceremony was preceded by the premiere of a video highlighting the historical beginnings and evolutionary timeline of the seminary, which can also be viewed below.
Videos attached below: